President Obama will award the Medal of Honor tomorrow afternoon to Dakota Meyer, the first living Marine in 38 years to receive the nation’s top valor award.
For many, the ceremony is heavily anticipated. There are many people still recovering from the scars created in Ganjgal, Afghanistan, on Sept. 8, 2009, when the heroism of Meyer and others prevented an awful situation from becoming even worse. As it was, the battle led to the death of five U.S. service members and at least eight Afghan troops.
Meyer already is in Washington, and appeared Tuesday night at the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation’s 2011 ceremony to announce the creation of the Sergeant Dakota Meyer Scholarship Initiative. It’s a push to raise $1 million to help the children of wounded Marines get through school.
Meyer mentioned the effort when I interviewed him last month in Kentucky for this feature, but the details were still a bit fuzzy. They’re crystal-clear now, though. In the last week, he even has backed the launch of dakotameyer.com, which outlines the push and what it means to him.
To propel the initiative, Meyer also has embarked on an apparent first: taking to social networking websites as a living Medal of Honor recipient. There’s a Facebook fan page, which includes announcement and links to media coverage. There’s also a Twitter page, which he suggested yesterday that his Facebook fans follow.
It’s all a long way from where Meyer was a year ago, when he was hesistant to discuss the awful details of what happened in Ganjgal. The reason appears to be simple, based on his website:
“I chose to partner with the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation on this initiative because of our common mission of supporting Marines and Navy Corpsmen families. Education paves the path for our future, and the money we raise will lead to a brighter future for the sons and daughters of many Marines.”
Expect more appearances in the future. Among the first: He’ll be throwing out the opening pitch at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 20.